Thanksgiving Day 3

I got up when the alarm went off. Very good.

Then, I was studying Plotinus\’ Ennead 6.1.x. And this is what is interesting for me about Plotinus. I have Bachelor\’s and Master\’s degrees in engineering, but no where in my studies did philosophy appear. So when Plotinus starts a topic like \”Existents\” I am fascinated. I\’m not sure about the spirituality of it, but certainly it teaches me to think deeper.

I\’m not here going to teach philosophy. But here is an interesting sentence. Yes, I had to read before and will read more after. But it is a gem which doesn\’t seem to occur elsewhere in my contemplation: \”Supposing we grant that all things known as substances are homogeneous as possessing something denied to the other genera, what precisely is this something, this individuality, this subject which is never a predicate, this thing not present in any thing as in a subject, this thing which does not owe its essential character to any other thing, as a quality takes character from a body and a quantity from a substance, as time is related to motion and motion to the moved?\”

And then I went to the park for running. First off, while I had a full hydropak, I forgot the bag with the garmin and the hats/glasses. I had another hat and glasses in the car and decided to do a loop I knew the length of. I had no idea how long I\’d go. I guess at most until the hydropak ran out. I ran a 2.5 mile loop from the gazebo to Pine Gully and back. It was a beautiful day. I got to look at Galveston Bay every loop. I saw smoke coming from something, but nothing in the news about it. I\’m still blowing my nose alot from my cold last week.

Most interesting for contemplation. An old man and woman. She with a scooter walker. On it was a folding chair. Then were very slowly walking from the parking lot. I think I passed them 3 times; until the forth time, they had stopped and put the chair for him at the boardwalk. She was sitting on the scooter walker. It was a nice sunny place with a nice view. It brought to mind that essential quality of the life force which is present in some humans, causing them to bother to creep out to that location and sit down.

I ended up with 20.6 miles in 5 hours.

Then I came home to shower and eat. I lay on the bed resting and reading for a short while. But, felt fine to go run an errand, eat again and then walk on the treadmill another 90 minutes.

Why do I bother with all this exercise? I\’m training my mind to keep going.

What is unfortunate is I need to find time to wash my car; perhaps on Wednesday when it is supposed to be warm.

Thanksgiving Day 1

I have 9 days off work. I don\’t have any plans exactly. That is, I am not driving to any races. I don\’t celebrate holidays so no TG gathering. In fact, Thanksgiving is almost the mother of all worst cases for a vegetarian. Billions of turkeys slaughtered so Americans can overeat one more day. Drink to much and fight with eachother. Then take naps in front of the TV where a football game is on.

No thanks. I\’ll stay alone.

I\’ve been reading some books on the environment and tribal outlook that Jesus must have been born and raised in. And about how Paul most certainly had a brand of Christianity very different than Jesus. The book I\’ve been reading most recently is well written. But I realized this morning that I don\’t need any more information on that topic. I put it aside and wondered what I should do.

The idea of Plotinus came into my mind. I hadn\’t finished the Enneads. I had been much edified by Plotinus philosophy. So I got the book out and started where I left off.

Plotinus Ennead 5.9.7: \”Knowledge in the reasoning soul is on the one side concerned with objects of sense, though indeed this can scarcely be called knowledge and is better indicated as opinion or surface-knowing; it is of later origin than the objects since it is a reflection from them: but on the other hand there is the knowledge handling the intellectual objects and this is the authentic knowledge; it enters the reasoning soul from the Intellectual-Principle and has no dealing with anything in sense. Being true knowledge it actually is everything of which it takes cognisance; it carries as its own content the intellectual act and the intellectual object since it carries the Intellectual-Principle which actually is the primals and is always self-present and is in its nature an Act, never by any want forced to seek, never acquiring or traversing the remote- for all such experience belongs to soul- but always self-gathered, the very Being of the collective total, not an extern creating things by the act of knowing them.

Not by its thinking God does God come to be; not by its thinking Movement does Movement arise. Hence it is an error to call the Ideas intellections in the sense that, upon an intellectual act in this Principle, one such Idea or another is made to exist or exists. No: the object of this intellection must exist before the intellective act [must be the very content not the creation of the Intellectual-Principle]. How else could that Principle come to know it: certainly not [as an external] by luck or by haphazard search.\”

I must have read this 10 times. But something clicked in my mind which I can hardly explain. For a few moments, I had an entire understanding of God and oneness. It was awesome.

So then I went out for a short jog. I hadn\’t planned much today. It was supposed to rain, and I am getting over the sniffles, so I didn\’t think I\’d do much. I had a delightful slow jog of 7 miles for 90 minutes. The morning was very fresh. I loved it.

Coming home, I changed clothes and headed out to an AA meeting. I have 29 years of sobriety but still think AA meetings are fantastic. I am so grateful for my lovely attitude.

When I got home, I started workout number 2. This was an indoor cross training workout. 15 minutes on exercise bike. 15 min on elliptical. 15 min galloping sideways back and forth on the step platform. 15 min on the Nordic Track. 15 min on the Versa Climber. 45 minutes durability. Durability means something like circuit training employing weights and 2 floors. At the bottom of the stairs, I did one arm squat lift bends with a 20 lb kettle bell and pushups. On the second floor I did tricep dips and heel raises. I carried 2 x 10 lb olympic plates each time I went up or down the stairs. I don\’t know how many circuits I did in 45 minutes. I finished off with 15 min of rowing.

I\’m sure those durability workouts, and cross training in general, will be my life saver when it comes to doing a 6 day expedition in Utah next summer.

Then I ate and read a book for a little. Then I walked uphill on the treadmill for another 90 minutes.

Here is what all that looks like according to fitbit:

The chart shows calories instead of steps because rowing and biking don\’t give any steps.5.5 hours today.

Is this training necessary? No, of course not. I just like it.

On Life

I spend much time wondering why I am alive. When I observe others, they seem to have responsibilities or purposes or accomplishments which point to their reasons for living. My seeming lack of success is paired with my general feelings of competitiveness, and the friction of not wanting to play the corporate get ahead games at work.

Reading Plotinus on Essence.

There came on integration. I have the life force within me. What I have thought of as competitiveness is really the life force which cannot be contained. Ever notice how a weed will break through concrete? The life in me cannot be contained. Instead of fear and anger at others, just see the life force.

While running, I thought about the Course in Miracles teaching that this world originates from a tiny mad idea. And the Genesis creation mythology about Adam and Eve. I decided that in order to know The Good, you must not believe you are bad. As long as I think I am bad, then the life force will seem evil. this seeming evil is what we call ego. Ego is just the life force either misdirected or misperceived.

I don\’t need to be alive for a reason. I am simply life itself. My most recent running mantra is built on Plotinus: One, Being, Soul, Now.  These are emanations. I am Now. Life is now.

Is there a God to pray to? Is there a Love to surrender to? These are questions not to be answered. And please stop reading books and memorizing answers. Or going to church and following some authority figure.

Let go of human badness. See only life. this is both a contemplation of Essence and a looking beyond this world.

Plotinus 5.1.10

I picked up Plotinus again today; right where I left off, 5.1.10. For a few week, I was reading \”A History of God\” by Karen Armstrong, along with my ongoing A Course in Miracles study.

I have to say, I immediately felt inspired and seemed to understand what I was reading. At least, I felt the hope in inspiration and the value of a life of contemplation without any worldly ambition or achievement. Since I live partially in the world, I continually feel the pull towards achievement instead. I fight the draw towards \”more\” but am not always successful.

But Plotinus gives me again the idea of contemplation of The One (first), Being (second), Soul (third). And then I right now achieve inner peace.

Why is it such trouble to turn inward? I struggle at work because the company is always wanting people to have a \”career ladder\” and to be achieving. I see others being promoted and feel jealousy. No really. I see that I don\’t want to do those things but I need to give my ego something instead. So accepting hope from Plotinus allows me to rest. Surprisingly, spirituality is one thing I have control over.

It is Sunday and I stubbornly and rebelliously stayed in bed a long time, even though I more or less woke up quite early. I loathe going outside and I fooled myself into saying I would stay inside for my workout. But as I type this, I have on my heat gear shirt and am planning to go for a walk. The walk will be in some trees and be a slow as necessary; but I know I am going outside. Selah!
5.1.10

Quote:
10. We have shown the inevitability of certain convictions as to the scheme of things:

There exists a Principle which transcends Being; this is The One, whose nature we have sought to establish in so far as such matters lend themselves to proof. Upon The One follows immediately the Principle which is at once Being and the Intellectual-Principle. Third comes the Principle, Soul.

Now just as these three exist for the system of Nature, so, we must hold, they exist for ourselves. I am not speaking of the material order- all that is separable- but of what lies beyond the sense realm in the same way as the Primals are beyond all the heavens; I mean the corresponding aspect of man, what Plato calls the Interior Man.

Thus our soul, too, is a divine thing, belonging to another order than sense; such is all that holds the rank of soul, but [above the life-principle] there is the soul perfected as containing Intellectual-Principle with its double phase, reasoning and giving the power to reason. The reasoning phase of the soul, needing no bodily organ for its thinking but maintaining, in purity, its distinctive Act that its thought may be uncontaminated- this we cannot err in placing, separate and not mingled into body, within the first Intellectual. We may not seek any point of space in which to seat it; it must be set outside of all space: its distinct quality, its separateness, its immateriality, demand that it be a thing alone, untouched by all of the bodily order. This is why we read of the universe that the Demiurge cast the soul around it from without- understand that phase of soul which is permanently seated in the Intellectual- and of ourselves that the charioteer\’s head reaches upwards towards the heights.

The admonition to sever soul from body is not, of course, to be understood spatially- that separation stands made in Nature- the reference is to holding our rank, to use of our thinking, to an attitude of alienation from the body in the effort to lead up and attach to the over-world, equally with the other, that phase of soul seated here and, alone, having to do with body, creating, moulding, spending its care upon it.



If your thirst is whetted, here is 5.1.12:

Quote:
12. Possessed of such powers, how does it happen that we do not lay hold of them, but for the most part, let these high activities go idle- some, even, of us never bringing them in any degree to effect?

The answer is that all the Divine Beings are unceasingly about their own act, the Intellectual-Principle and its Prior always self-intent; and so, too, the soul maintains its unfailing movement; for not all that passes in the soul is, by that fact, perceptible; we know just as much as impinges upon the faculty of sense. Any activity not transmitted to the sensitive faculty has not traversed the entire soul: we remain unaware because the human being includes sense-perception; man is not merely a part [the higher part] of the soul but the total.

None the less every being of the order of soul is in continuous activity as long as life holds, continuously executing to itself its characteristic act: knowledge of the act depends upon transmission and perception. If there is to be perception of what is thus present, we must turn the perceptive faculty inward and hold it to attention there. Hoping to hear a desired voice, we let all others pass and are alert for the coming at last of that most welcome of sounds: so here, we must let the hearings of sense go by, save for sheer necessity, and keep the soul\’s perception bright and quick to the sounds from above.



Exciting Enlightenment

I have been a student of A Course in Miracles (ACIM) for several years. Also, for the past 6 months, I\’ve been slowly plowing my way through Plotinus\’ Enneads. I am not even half way through, up to the third Ennead.

Every few days, I find some gem of an idea buried in Plotinus. Often, these gems overlap with a principle of ACIM. My understanding of Plotinus, who was a Platonist (studied the Greek philosopher Plato), is framed in principles which overlap from ACIM. I\’m taking the principles themselves to be general truths and as such should be true for all humans and all religions and philosophies.

Not Christianity, but Christ Himself. (imo)

A key principle of ACIM is \”forgiveness\” which doesn\’t have the same meaning as most people think. It means looking beyond to the Christ Principle within, beyond this world. If this idea is translated into Platonism using Ideal Form, Reason Principle, Authentic Existence, and others; we get a unified explanation of ACIM. So truth is true and completely practice-able by ordinary humans. (er, or anyone who really wants to).

I can\’t offer a sound bite of two books, each of which is over 700 pages. I offer my excitement to know I am happily on a path of truth.

If you are a student of ACIM, you will recognize Christ Vision and forgiveness in the following key cut from Plotinus 3.8.7:

\”All the forms of Authentic Existence spring from vision and are a vision. Everything that springs from these Authentic Existences in their vision is an object of vision-manifest to sensation or to true knowledge or to surface-awareness. All act aims at this knowing; all impulse is towards knowledge, all that springs from vision exists to produce Ideal-Form, that is a fresh object of vision, so that universally, as images of their engendering principles, they all produce objects of vision, Ideal-forms. In the engendering of these sub-existences, imitations of the Authentic, it is made manifest that the creating powers operate not for the sake of creation and action but in order to produce an object of vision. This same vision is the ultimate purpose of all the acts of the mind and, even further downward, of all sensation, since sensation also is an effort towards knowledge; lower still, Nature, producing similarly its subsequent principle, brings into being the vision and Idea that we know in it. It is certain, also, that as the Firsts exist in vision all other things must be straining towards the same condition; the starting point is, universally, the goal.

When living things reproduce their Kind, it is that the Reason-Principles within stir them; the procreative act is the expression of a contemplation, a travail towards the creation of many forms, many objects of contemplation, so that the universe may be filled full with Reason-Principles and that contemplation may be, as nearly as possible, endless: to bring anything into being is to produce an Idea-Form and that again is to enrich the universe with contemplation: all the failures, alike in being and in doing, are but the swerving of visionaries from the object of vision: in the end the sorriest craftsman is still a maker of forms, ungracefully. So Love, too, is vision with the pursuit of Ideal-Form.\”

I am happy I continue to shamelessly follow Jesus. I am excited and enlightened. The Compassionate Spirit has worked within my heart and brought me a vision of The Real World.

Awakening

Plotinus Enneads 3.6.6: \”…like dreamers take for actualities the figments of their sleeping vision. The sphere of sense, the Soul in its slumber; for all of the Soul that is in body is asleep…in any movement that takes the body with it there is no more than a passage from sleep to sleep…\”

I am a consciousness asleep that wants to awaken. Doing anything doesn\’t help. Following the instructions of guru after guru, I have been frustrated. It became time to set out on my own.

I find the light in quiet. In quiet I make some type of connection with Authentic Being. I need A Course in Miracles because it gives me my own Teacher. My workbook lesson for today was, \”Let me remember I am one with God.\” And then I became quiet. I left the world of sense and body. And I knew the vastness of The One. It was a brief glimpse, but I did know it.

Some teachers and books grant freedom from this world. There are various ways of looking at it. Some religions only grant freedom after death. But I. What do I say? What do I receive from my own depths.

I can sit in quiet and devote my mind towards God. I can wait in that place not of this world. There don\’t seem to be worldly rewards from my practice. This annoys my ego that I have nothing to show. Inner peace is in some way anti-life-in-this-world. It is pro-Life-in-That-Authenticity.

Any time I study outside, my hope become dashed. The methodology didn\’t work. But if I become patient and allow, then I know. Then I am awake. Freedom is free; terribly free.

I must do miles.

Plotinus 3.1.4 – 10, Universal Determination

Yesterday, I went to a half marathon race. I was aware as my car turned out of my street that I was making myself go to the race. I became aware of how I make myself do everything. Getting out of bed each and every day is something I make myself do.

Who are these people who love getting up in the morning?

But I need to frame my life in spirituality. The material world, American society and past times, no longer hold interest and haven\’t for many years. Pondering of ideas is what I do.

Plotinus\’ third Ennead starts off providing several theories of self and direction of the universe. Of course, human seekers are mainly concerned with their own self determination. Plotinus arrives at the individual Soul and the Principle. \”But when our Soul holds to its Reason-Principle, to the guide, pure and detached and native to itself, only then can we speak of personal operation, of voluntary act.\”

He has already explained what could be voluntary in terms of noble souls and poorer souls. The poorer soul defers to bodily temperament in unreflective acceptance of stimulus. The nobler soul holds good against its surroundings.

In this life, my soul has been remarkably resistant to the less noble, has sought the noble and attempted to carry it out. Along the line, reflection occurred and determination to abstain formed in place.

This doesn\’t bring dopamine rewards or the temporary ecstasy found in candy, thrills and copulation. I believe American society seeks greater and greater material world thrills because it doesn\’t have the capacity to reflect or to look beyond. There is only the rushing forward for more and more, with no degree of noble action carried out. Noble actions don\’t pay off usually.

Somehow, Universal Determination gets me out of bed. I resist numerous daily onslaughts of food and entertainment. I just stand determined in my behavior. Some lack of wisdom is suffered, but the overall pattern holds and increases in it determination.

Just now I realize: I don\’t want to transcend this self. This self is evidence of my Soul and its connection to Spirit.

Train for marathons or eat cookies. What is your choice to be? I\’ll take the marathon. The idea of marathon is noble compared to obesity. I am determined and plan to stay that way. I will reflect and deny the stimulus. Mindfulness? Fuck yeah!

The Way – Integration

There are 3 philosophies which I regularly: Conscious Contact spirituality of 12 Steps, A Course in Miracles, and now, Plotinus Enneads. Integration is about melding the various words into one truth. The truth is true; there can\’t be several of them. I\’m excited to be putting together Plotinus and ACIM. The words are incredibly diverse, but the truth in constant.

Plotinus 2.9.18 says: \”…those that have become good and are no longer body but embodied Soul and of a quality to inhabit the body in a mode very closely resembling the indwelling pf the All-Soul in the universal frame. And this means continence, self-restraint, holding staunch against outside pleasure and against outer spectacle, allowing no hardship to disturb the mind. The All-Soul is immune from shock, there is nothing that can affect it; but we, in our passage here, must call on virtue in repelling these assault, reduced for us from the beginning by a great conception of life, annulled by matured strength.

Attaining to something of this immunity, we begin to reproduce within ourselves the Soul of the vast All and of the heavenly bodies: when we are come to the very closest resemblance, all the effort of our fervid pursuit will be towards that goal to which they also tend, their contemplative vision becomes ours, prepared as we are, first by natural disposition and afterwards by all this training, for that state which is theirs by the Principle of their Being.\”

My ACIM workbook lesson for the day is: Light and joy and peace abide in me.

The lesson immediately lets me off the hook for all my expectations and struggles. And it gives me a way to change what I believe about myself in my mind. My innermost being is already the Sage, an embodied Soul. I don\’t have to work on that. I merely need to stop believing the surface chatter in my head.

It is not arrogant to become an embodied Soul. It is not evil to stop participating in society. I don\’t at all mind celibacy, simplicity, austerity, sobriety.

At an early age, I chose \”The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.\” I haven\’t changed.

The Way of the Sage

As I\’ve mentioned before, I am reading Plotinus\’ Enneads. In 2.9.9, he mentions \”…the way of the Sage…\” \”…the Sage intent upon the sublimest, upon the realm above…\” There are seven Enneads and this reference to Sage appears less than one quarter of the way in the book. But that is all that is said in this location and seems the first reference to the way of the Sage in the Enneads so far.

In my life I have chased: divine union, enlightenment, God, He, and etc. You name it as it seems to go by various names.

Is the Sage wise? Does the Sage win the much sought after spiritual boon?

Maybe the Buddhist, one who chops wood and carries water, is the highest being.

Who is Heidegger\’s Dasein? How do I become aware of That? Unfallen? (A Heidegger term now, not a Biblical term).

I work for a living. Every weekend is a chance to be alone more fully. I get 3 days every other weekend. It is during these times that I turn my attention inward. Seeking. Listening. Even running or lifting weights.

For this I call myself a monk. A monos. One alone.

To be alone in thought is not a dopamine reward experience. So I never feel holy or enlightened. It is at best a battle with thought demons in the modern desert (a quiet suburb).

Whats going on in my mind, where my inner eyes gaze, defines whether I am a monk, or merely anti-social. A barrage of ego criticisms battering me. Waves of silence washing me. Both at once as I merely sit.

It is not a self improvement program. If you got nothing, you probably figured it out.

Spiritual Integration

If you come to a fork in the road, take it. I didn\’t make that up, but I like it.

I\’ve been reading a philosopher named Plotinus for 3 months now. He was a student of Plato in around 250 CE.

But my focus is necessarily on my own personal spiritual crisis: how do I connect with a higher power?

In Ennead 2.9.2, P discusses three parts of the Soul. One part standing high, in the presence of Beauty and The Divine Beings. One part concerned with this world. One part in the middle which is tugged higher and lower but never succumbs to the lowest. In this, I am instantly reminded of Freud. I have not studied Freud beyond some idea of ego, super ego and id; not knowing what Freud really meant.

From what is said, I will take in my own words. My soul can dwell in contemplation of the things above it and  \”establishing order by the marvelous efficacy of it contemplation…\” What the soul draws from the contemplation \”it communicates to the lower sphere, illuminated and illuminating always.\”

What I understand from that is the Course in Miracles explanation of \”the real world;\” or the AA Big Book discussion of \”the realm of the spirit;\” or even what Jesus said \”the kingdom of God is within.\” And so we know why I sit in silence, a bit withdrawn from the day to day world. It is to feel this soul above. So I want to direct my attention to the thing above, to gaze on the divine. Plotinus allows this to varying extents. To have a life that is spiritually directed, then I would contemplate higher things and allow divine order and illumination to come down of its own accord.

I still think that contemplation and establishing the order of my life from spirit rather than by my own plans and designs is best done with space between me and the general social order.

There is another call in my mentality, to more involvement in the world. If this call came to fruition, I\’d need to put greater effort into the contemplation despite the time needed to carry out any other worldly commissions. As of now, my only decision is I want God above all else. And I will gaze up in order to draw down.

This is the pearl of great price. I actually have it. But I still wonder what my daily life should be like. I still need money. I will still get old. I don\’t think middle class Americans, and I am one, are capable of saying \”enough.\” My dream is of a tiny cabin hermitage; but I don\’t think my brain would be able to stand it.

My brain won\’t stop competing unless I take charge of it. Like today, my ACIM Lesson is \”I am entitled to miracles.\” When I need to take charge of my brain, I think my lesson. The lesson reminds me of a spiritual picture of reality which I want.